The Problem of Banning Offensive Technology Sales


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I like the concept of ‘banning’ the sale of offensive cyber weapons to potential adversaries, but what defines technology as offensive versus defensive?

Israel just announced it will ban the sales of hacking and surveillance tools to 65 countries: https://amp.thehackernews.com/thn/2021/11/israel-bans-sales-of-hacking-and.html

Tech is just a tool. It is how you use it, that will determine if it is offensive or defensive.

Is a vulnerability scanner offensive? Sure, attackers can use it to find weaknesses to exploit in their targets. However, in the hands of the cybersecurity team, it is used to identify vulnerable systems that need to be patched, thereby improving security.

Perhaps, such bans should apply to all digital technology. If you don’t trust how potential customers may use a tool, you shouldn’t be selling them anything. But in doing so, you limit the prosperity, influence, and value of your own organizations.

Finding a practical balance is very difficult. Not sure any country has it figured out, but it is something that needs to be done.

Cyberethics must play a more prominent role in our global digital ecosystem!

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Matthew Rosenquist
Matthew Rosenquist

Cybersecurity Strategist specializing in the evolution of threats, opportunities, and risks in pursuit of optimal security for our digital world.


Cybersecurity Tomorrow
Cybersecurity Tomorrow

Cybersecurity strategy perspectives for the emerging risks and opportunities of securing our digital world. The insights of today will lead to tomorrow's security, privacy, and safety foundations.

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